Saturday, 18 August 2012

Twenty Questions

Ray at Don't Throw a '1' is asking Twenty Questions. Who am I to not want to waste half my day answering them*?

Hooray For Venezuela!
1) Favourite wargaming period and why?

Not so much a period, but I find just about any pre-WWII Latin American conflict interesting. I'm not sure why; I think the fact that they are often small scale (which makes them good to wargame on a budget) and obscure (which appeals to the trivia freak in me) is part of it. So, from pre-Columbian warfare in Mexico, to the 19th century Wars of Liberation and up to the Chaco War, I find much to enjoy.

Saying that, about 80% of my gaming is 'Hordes of the Things', but I think fantasy (especially the way I define and play it) is too broad to count as a 'period'.

2) Next period, money no object?

I would like to try the Mexican Revolution in 15mm, but that's really included above. If you specifically asked me the question today I'd say Wessex Games' 'Aeronef', but that's because I'm still buzzing from my first game of it on Thursday. And that's the problem; I'm easily distracted onto any short-term 'next period' project. Saying that, I have always fancied doing WW1 in East Africa.

3) Favourite 5 films?

Some Like It Hot
Any of Jacques Tati's M Hulot films (please don't make me choose one)
Godzilla moves (Individually awful, but as a genre ... fantastic)

4) Favourite 5 TV series?

Hard to limit this to five, really

Doctor Who
Father Ted
The Green Wing
Edge of Darkness
I'll try any UK crime series, but love things like 'New Tricks', 'Foyle's War' the Joan Hickson 'Miss Marple' series, 'Poirot' and we loved the recent 'Death in Paradise'. Aussie TV shows a lot of UK crime drama.

"Yeah, can't really do smiley faces on death certificates. Does look a little bit insensitive." 

5) Favourite book and author?

I'm not quite sure why we're allowed five films and TV programmes, but only one book. So I'm going to have five, and not even individual books.

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series
Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series
Philip Reeves' Mortal Engines series
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories (although I love a lot of his other stuff as well, especially his short stories)
Any book on evolutionary biology by Richard Dawkins. The guy is a pompous arse, and if I were an atheist I'd feel embarrassed to have him speaking for me, but he can explain complex science in a way that is entertaining, without over-simplifying.

6) Greatest general? Can’t count yourself!!

I have a soft spot for General Guillaume-Henri Dufour, the Swiss general who led the Federal forces in the Sonderbund War of 1847. This civil war in Switzerland could, like most civil wars, have turned into a bitter and bloody mess, but Dufour organised a campaign that saw it resoled swiftly and, in a conflict involving 150,000 troops, with less than 600 casualties (killed and wounded). He was later involved in the formation of the Red Cross.

7) Favourite wargames rules?

No question - 'Hordes of the Things'. A close second, on the grounds that I don't think I've ever played a dull game of it, is 'Fire and Fury'.

8) Favourite sport and team?

I don't follow any sports and therefore I don't follow any teams either. Living in a country where sport is considered a religion, I am an atheist :)

9) If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?

A Paris costumier, sometime in the 1870s or 1880s, with enough money to have a complete wardrobe made for me. At 1870-80 prices. Then I'd come back.

Practical and comfortable

It would need to be a time-machine with lots of hanging space.

Mmm. Don't mind if I do ..
10) Last meal on Death Row?

Nigella's Quick Chilli (from 'Nigella Express'), followed by my Mum's lemon sponge pudding. A glass of Fat Yak on the side, and a nice cup of tea to finish.

11) Fantasy relationship and why?

Nigella Lawson, if only for the cooking and smutty talk. Otherwise either Honeysuckle Weeks or The Girl From The Mac Shop.

Not In A Frock
12) If your life were a movie, who would play you?

Eddie Izzard. Although I look better in a  frock.

13) Favourite comic superhero?

My knowledge of comic characters pretty much ends in the early 1980s, but I used to collect Marvel Comics up to that point. Pushed to one favourite character it would have to be the X-Men's Nightcrawler, for a number of reasons too personal to go into here. Also rans include the Scarlet Witch (a contender for the Fantasy Relationship answer) and Danny The Street.

My Hero!

14) Favourite military quote?

"We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!" - The elderly Major General Joseph Wheeler, a former Confederate cavalry commander, leading US Volunteer troops against the Spanish in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

15) Historical destination to visit?

This is a hard one. One of the biggest things we all miss about the UK after emigrating to Australia is the sheer amount of history there is everywhere. So possibly I wouldn't pick one destination; I'd just say the UK.

Pushed to a single(ish) destination, I would like to do a tour of some of the battlefields from the various Trans-Mississippi campaigns of the US Civil War - Wilson's Creek, Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge and so forth.

16) Biggest wargaming regret?

Not attacking that stronghold in my last game at the Berkeley HOTT competition in 2008. I could have won the game, and therefore the tournament (my last in the UK) had I done so, but at a risk of losing big-time if I'd failed to take it. Instead I opted for a safer, more conventional, attempt at victory and lost anyway.

Also - using 6mm figures for my 'Fire and Fury' armies instead of 10mm.

17) Favourite fantasy job?

Punch and Judy man.

Features Alan Rickman. Really.
18) Favourite song - Top 5?

Tubular Bells II - Mike Oldfield
Roundabout - Yes
Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad) - Shostakovitch
Animate - Rush
Ára bátur - Sigur Rós

19) Favourite wargaming moment?

Being beaten by my nine year-old daughter in a HOTT competition game at Beer And Pretzels in Burton back in 2006. She proceeded to do a victory dance in front of a couple of hundred other gamers.

On the following Monday she wrote about it at school. Just to embarrass her, here's what she said:

"I was really excited because I was going to a wargaming competition. I had a Halloween army. The first person I played and beat had an Egyptian army. This great victory put me into top place. So my next game was with someone who was second, and he had a puffin army. Not even my dad could beat him, but I slaughtered him. Then I went down to second place because someone else got more points than me. So I played him and lost, meanwhile my dad was playing my mum. Then somehow I ended up playing my dad and beat him. In the end I came fourth out of thirty. I beat my whole family and I was the first child. Everyone had to bring a prize, so I got a dragon and I called it Puffy and it will be in my next army."

(Just a note: For a couple of years all four of us took part in that particular competition; myself, my wife and both children. For at least one year we were also joined by my dad and brother, which meant that out of 24 players, six of them were from the same family.)

Just to add to family moments, there's the time Steve Price made my ten year-old son cry by beating him in the final round of a HOTT tournament (whoever won the game won the tournament), but then generously gave his prize to him (a painted 15mm Elf army, which we still have).

And, before we had children, there's the time my wife joined us for our big New Year club game. We did Shiloh using 'Fire and Fury', a game she hadn't played before. Whilst constantly proclaiming that she had no idea what she was doing, she proceeded to aggressively drive her Confederate command right through the Union centre and out the other side. Sometimes enthusiasm can overcome skill and experience.

20) The miserable git question; what upsets you?

'Creation Science'? Hah!
Creationism, and any other wilful scientific ignorance motivated by religious belief. Actually any wilful scientific ignorance.

Homophobia and transphobia.

People who think that no matter how loud they listen to music the sound stops at the boundary of their property. Or who know it doesn't, but don't care anyway.

Rail Corp's obsession with trackwork on the few days each year I decide to travel up to Sydney for the day.

People who refuse to learn how to use apostrophes.

Television advertising - whilst I don't think Australia's as bad as the US, it's much worse than the UK. We actually don't watch any commercial TV now; even decent programmes (rare) are unwatchable, just because of the ads.

Anyone else driving on the same bit of road I am ...

And here's the original questions if you choose to answer them yourself:

1.        Favourite Wargaming period and why?
2.       Next period, money no object?
3.       Favourite 5 films?
4.       Favourite 5 TV series?
5.       Favourite book and author?
6.       Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!
7.       Favourite Wargames rules?
8.       Favourite Sport and team?
9.       If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
10.   Last meal on Death Row?
11.    Fantasy relationship and why?
12.   If your life were a movie, who would play you?
13.   Favourite Comic  Superhero?
14.   Favourite Military quote?
15.   Historical destination to visit?
16.   Biggest Wargaming regret?
17.   Favourite Fantasy job?
18.   Favourite Song Top 5?
19.   Favourite Wargaming Moment?
20.   The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

*And correcting the random capitalisation in them.

Not Me. I Don't Smoke.


  1. Why didn't you, for the last question, just put everyone and every thing?

  2. Great answers KK, and that story about your daughter is brilliant. I think it's great that your whole family join(ed?) in the gaming.
    I totally agree with you on the Joan Hickson version of Miss Marple - I can't stand the more recent ones done by ITV.
    Not sure about the Parisian late C19 haute couture though, but that may just be down to me being a butch ;)

    1. Don't worry - I'll let you handle butch for both of us, and I'll cover all of the late 19th century haute couture requirements :)

      We have had some of the more recent Marples here in Australia, and we're warming to them, although mostly because they're better than any of the alternatives on a Saturday or Sunday evening.

  3. Excellent answers and a history lesson too, I'd never heard of Dufour, before, sounds like a great man, The original Edge of Darkness TV series was excellent as well, I'd like to see that again one day!

    1. The Sonderbund War is something I'd like to have a go at gaming one day. I think there may even be a single English language book on it as well.

      Actually I think there was a game based on an action from it at Salute this year. I'd have to go back through the photos people took and see if I can find it.

  4. You can pick up the original Edge of Darkness on DVD for about £10.00. I did a couple of years ago.

  5. >People who refuse to learn how to use apostrophes.

    How to use apostrophe's what ?


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